With Week 17 in the books, and the Playoffs set to take place soon, the order of the first 20 teams in the 2020 NFL Draft has been revealed. Below are my predictions for each selection in this first version of the 2020 NFL Mock Draft.
Cincinatti Bengals #1: QB Joe Burrow (LSU)
Size: 6’4″ 215 lbs
- With the Bengals hinting on moving on from QB Andy Dalton, drafting anyone other than the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, Joe Burrow, is moronic as he possesses incredible arm talent, downfield vision, and is able to move the chains with his legs when the pocket collapses.
Washington Redskins #2: EDGE Chase Young (Ohio St.) Size: 6’5″ 265 lbs
- Compiling 46 total tackles, 16.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles in his 2019 campaign, Young positioned himself to be a Heisman Trophy finalist as the only defensive player among four quarterbacks to be voted. With an aging pass-rush, adding a marquise talent like Young will solve a lot of problems for Washington.
Detroit Lions #3: OL Andrew Thomas (Georgia)
Size: 6’5″ 320 lbs.
- Detroit has a dilapidated offensive line and by adding a high-end Georgia mammoth such as Thomas will go a long way in protecting the quarterback, but will be even more effective as a run blocker as he is a brick wall with immense power to create holes for his running back. With his struggles at stopping speed rushers, it is plausible for Detroit to move him inside at the guard to eliminate the power rushers.
New York Giants #4: CB Jeff Okudah (Ohio St.)
Size: 6’1″ 200 lbs
- The Giants have lost a lot of skill in their secondary over the past two seasons. By adding the Junior defensive back, they will be stepping in the right direction by upgrading their defense, starting with a highly talented corner who brings some much needed physicality and takeaway abilities to an otherwise soft defense.
Miami Dolphins #5: LB Isaiah Simmons (Clemson)
Size: 6’4″ 230 lbs
- A defensive coordinators dream, Simmons can play any position on defense. He has the speed and pass coverage abilities to line up as the slot corner or strong safety, he has the vision and awareness to play inside AND outside linebacker, and if he were to add some weight and muscle in the summer, he can line up as an edge rusher. Simmons is the definition of a hybrid defender. He has the experience and athleticism to play any position. THIS is the player the Dolphins welcome as their leader on defense.
L.A. Chargers #6: QB Justin Herbert (Oregon)
Size: 6’6″ 237 lbs
- QB Phillip Rivers’ career clock is ticking, and it’s time for the Chargers to begin looking for his replacement. Rather than drafting a receiver, it would be a far wiser choice to spend a rare top 10 pick on a successor to their aging QB. Pocket passers like Herbert don’t grow on trees. He has an exceptional arm and pinpoint accuracy.
Carolina Panthers #7: WR Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)
Size: 6’1″ 192 lbs
- Carolina’s defense was solid for the majority of the 2019 season before being plagued with injuries on the defensive line. Having enough salary cap space to patch minor holes on the defense, the Panthers are able to add a serious threat to their offense in one of the best wide-outs we’ve seen coming out of college in recent years. Impeccable hands, jaw-dropping agility and route running, Jeudy can do it all and more. He is the definition of a No. 1 option.
Arizona Cardinals #8: EDGE A.J. Epenesa (Iowa)
Size: 6’6″ 280 lbs
- Arizona will likely be looking to rejuvenate their pass rush by adding the Junior edge rusher out of the University of Iowa. Totaling 26.5 sacks and 8 forced fumbles in his three seasons in college, Epenesa had his career year in 2019 with 49 total tackles, 3 passes defended, 11.5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. In addition, this will also relieve a lot of the pressure on DE/LB Chandler Jones’ shoulders in the pass rush.
Jacksonville Jaguars #9: WR CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)
Size: 6’2″ 189 lbs
- The Jaguars are in serious need of playmakers on offense. Second year D.J. Chark Jr. had a very impressive sophomore season for the Jags, but it wasn’t enough to get the team back into the win column. By adding Lamb, coming off a 62 reception, 1,327 yard and 14 TD 2019 campaign of 13 games, The Jaguars will be creating a lethal threat in the pass game, which could potentially make them competitors in the grueling AFC South.
Cleveland Browns #10: S Grant Delpit (LSU)
Size: 6’3″ 203 lbs
- The intimidating LSU superstar is a no-brainer for the Browns who would be blessed to have this defensive back fall into their hands. Delpit is a natural free safety but has the strength and physicality to be a sub-linebacker in certain defensive packages. Adding this stud will surely solidify Cleveland’s promising young secondary for the next four seasons.
New York Jets #11: OL Tristan Wirfs (Iowa)
Size: 6’5″ 322 lbs
- The Jets easily have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, giving up 52 sacks (4th most) and averaged 3.3 YPC in the run game (tied 31st) in the 2019 season. Protecting QB Sam Darnold is the No. 1 priority going forward and by drafting the Hawkeye lineman, they will be receiving a balanced offensive tackle that is effective in both run and pass blocking. “A prototypical NFL offensive tackle prospect” ~ Kyle Crabbs.
Las Vegas Raiders #12: LB Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma)
Size: 6’2″ 234 lbs
- Targeting Murray may be a bit of a reach as he’s ranked the 17th prospect in the draft, but the Raiders are in need of playmakers in the second level of the front-seven. After surpassing the 100 tackle mark for the second straight season, Murray has shown an aggressiveness on the ball that will be welcomed with open arms in 2020 with Las Vegas.
Indianapolis Colts #13: DT Derrick Brown (Auburn)
Size: 6’5″ 318 lbs
- The Colts could use a dominant run-stopping defensive lineman, and that’s what the Auburn Senior can bring to Indy. Brown’s last three seasons at Auburn featured 45+ tackles each year, and totaled 11 sacks in that span. In 2019 he forced two fumbles and recovered both of them.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers #14:
DE/DT Javon Kinlaw (S. Carolina)
Size:6’5″ 318 lbs
- Losing Gerald McCoy after the 2018 season left a hole in the trenches that has yet to be filled. Adding Gamecock defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw, a monster of a human being, will surely aid in filling the void on the line. After drafting MLB Devin White out of LSU in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Bucs will continue the trend of selecting yet another cog in the defensive machine.
Denver Broncos #15: CB Kristian Fulton (LSU)
Size: 6’0″ 200 lbs
- With long-time DB Chris Harris Jr. likely to part ways in free agency, the Broncos will be looking to rearm their secondary by adding the Senior out of LSU. Fulton is most effective when playing man-coverage as he possesses exceptional speed and agility while being able to read routes well. He’s passive on the ball and his ability to defend a 50/50 jump-ball is a concern due to an unimpressive wing-span and average hands.
Atlanta Falcons #16: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn St.)
Size: 6’5″ 264 lbs
- Atlanta will be eager to boost their defense by adding a dominant, three-down pass rusher who can apply pressure to the quarterback, wreaking havoc throughout the backfield. Very effective bull rush, but struggles severely upon facing double teams. His motor is unmatched, but will require patience and development as his game still needs to be perfected in the pass rush.
Dallas Cowboys #17: WR Tee Higgins (Clemson)
Size: 6’4″ 215 lbs
- Selecting Higgins brings a deep-threat option to the Cowboys’ passing game which will require speedy DB’s to focus on him, freeing WR Amari Cooper from double coverage. As a basketball player, Higgins displays tremendous length and athleticism, giving him a significant advantage in 50/50 catches. There are concerns with his catching abilities as he has fallen victim to drops in pivotal moments in games, as well as concerns over his route running abilities.
Miami Dolphins (Pittsburgh Steelers) #18:
CB/S Xavier McKinney (Alabama)
Size: 6’1″ 200 lbs
- The large corner will reflect HC Brian Flores’ focus on defense. The ‘Bama DB totaled 85 tackles in 2019, along with 2.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 3 INTs and 5 passes defended, as well as a defensive TD. McKinney is not afraid to get his hands dirty, as he is an aggressive playmaker who loves to attack the ball carrier. He has average speed and is better in supporting the play rather than one-on-one coverage.
Las Vegas Raiders (Chicago Bears) #19:
G Tyler Biadasz (Wisconsin)
Size: 6’3″ 321 lbs
- The Raiders will most likely address their need at the guard positions on the offensive line in order to support their smash-mouth offensive play-style. The Badger has incredible strength and was molded by a Wisconsin football program that produces behemoths on the offensive line, like himself, that leave NFL teams day-dreaming. Biadasz is a textbook run-blocker and is an ideal option for Las Vegas.
Jacksonville Jaguars (L.A. Rams) #20:
CB C.J. Henderson (Florida)
Size: 6’1″ 202 lbs
- I can see the Jaguars directing their second 1st round pick towards the secondary, as the hole that superstar CB Jalen Ramsey left is unmeasurable. Henderson is an elite man-coverage corner who can eliminate any receiver lined across from him. In order to adapt to the speed of the NFL, he is going to need to focus on increasing power and hand strength in press, as well as solidifying a role in stopping the run.